Privacy Risks and Racial Bias

by jeeg 14. July 2010 23:31
California deserves credit for identifying a suspected serial killer by using familial DNA searches. The successful identification of a dangerous suspect shows that these searches can be useful under carefully limited circumstances. But California’s haste to expand its DNA database also shows the grave risks — to privacy and liberty — that unregulated familial searches can pose. If other states embrace this tool without adequate protections, they may put all of their ... [More]

The Grim Sleeper and DNA: There's much to be concerned about

by jeeg 13. July 2010 05:24
DNA evidence was undeniably the key to the arrest and charging of Lonnie David Franklin Jr., believed to be the Grim Sleeper responsible for a string of slayings in Los Angeles between 1985 and 2007. Many will cite this use of DNA evidence in a high-profile serial murder case as one more reason to increase reliance on this important investigative tool. But in fact it's precisely at a moment like this when an investigative triumph can blind us to the dangers of expanding genetic surveillanc... [More]

Scientists Criticize Study on Genetics of Old Age

by jeeg 11. July 2010 00:10
A study on the genetics of centenarians that was published last week in Science, a leading scientific journal, has come under criticism from geneticists who say it has obvious weaknesses, is probably incorrect and should not have been published in a premier journal. The study, which received broad press coverage, said that 150 genetic variants predictive of longevity had been identified among New England centenarians and that a test based on those variants could predict who would live to... [More]

DNA crime-fighting tools can help crack cases, but authorities must put proper procedures in place.

by jeeg 11. July 2010 00:01
   It was an unfinished slice of pizza that led to the identification ofLonnie David Franklin Jr. as the prime suspect in the Grim Sleepermurder investigation. But the pizza was just the final clue leading tohis arrest.The key break in the investigation, intermittently conducted over 25years, came when investigators found a close — but not perfect — matchbetween the DNA recovered at multiple crime scenes and a man beingheld in a California prison. Such a near-match strongl... [More]

Bioethics Council Hears Pleas for More Oversight of Synthetic Biology

by jeeg 10. July 2010 23:25
This week, a presidential bioethics commission took up a burning new issue in science: the risks and benefits of synthetic biology. Scientists and other witnesses seemed of two minds on whether the field needs major new regulations. While some argued that for radical changes, others argued that the field merely builds on a long history of manipulating DNA in living organisms and worried that tough new oversight could stifle research. The impetus for the meeting was a May report in ... [More]

‘Grim Sleeper’ Arrest Fans Debate on DNA Use

by jeeg 10. July 2010 07:13
The arrest in the case of the “Grim Sleeper” — a serial killer who terrorized South Los Angeles for two decades — has put one of the hottest controversies in American law enforcement to its first major test. Only two states, Colorado and California, have a codified policy permitting a so-called familial search, the use of DNA samples taken from convicted criminals to track down relatives who may themselves have committed a crime. It is a practice that district att... [More]

Potential victims give DNA for Dallas database

by jeeg 10. July 2010 07:08
Tesha Cobb knows the risks of the life of prostitution and drugs she is fighting to leave behind for good. The 35-year-old mother was once beaten in the head with a hammer and another time jumped from a moving vehicle at highway speed. She's drug-free now and is determined not to look back. But having relapsed before, she knows there's always a chance that dark past could catch up with her. "If something was to happen to me, I would want someone to know who I was," Cobb said. "I don't ... [More]

In Europe, a Move to Ease Curbs on Growing Biotech Crops

by jeeg 9. July 2010 00:16
After decades of pushing nations to surrender more power to the European Union, the bloc is pulling back on efforts to assert its authority over one highly contentious issue,genetically modified foods. On Tuesday, the European Commission will formally propose giving back to national and local governments the freedom to decide whether to grow such crops. The new policy is aimed at overcoming a stalemate that has severely curtailed the market for biotech seeds in Europe.... [More]

Europe Seeks to Ban Food From Clones

by jeeg 9. July 2010 00:09
The European Parliament asked on Wednesday for a ban on the sale of foods from cloned animals and their offspring, the latest sign of deepening concern in the European Union about the safety and ethics of new food technologies. The chamber, meeting in Strasbourg, France, also called for a temporary suspension of the sale of food containing ingredients derived from nanotechnology, which involves engineering substances down to very small sizes. Members were voting on leg... [More]

Exposing the Student Body: Stanford Joins U.C. Berkeley in Controversial Genetic Testing of Students

by jeeg 8. July 2010 02:17
This week, the University of California, Berkeley will mail saliva sample kits to every incoming freshman and transfer student. Students can choose to use the kits to submit their DNA for genetic analysis, as part of an orientation program on the topic of personalized medicine. But U.C. Berkeley isn't the only university offering its students genetic testing. Stanford University's summer session started two weeks ago, including a class on personal genomics that gives medical and graduate s... [More]
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